The EU is a major player in global Health, both through its research base and through its role in supporting development. The Pharmaceutical industry also has an important role to play. To encourage collaboration on global health issues with European stakeholders (NGOs, policy makers, etc.) EFPIA started a dialogue to address major issues related to healthcare delivery in developing and emerging countries. The Global Health Initiative (GHI) series of public debates, sponsored by members of the European Parliament, seeks to improve understanding and identify new opportunities for collaboration in this complex area.
Improving global health is a multi-faceted challenge due to the many barriers preventing access to quality care. Without proper infrastructure, even the best medical initiatives are useless. Without political commitment, the funding for infrastructure and capacity building will not be available. The past ten years have seen a renewed engagement to find solutions. The pharmaceutical industry plays a broad role in this, extending from inventing and developing new medicines to the development of new business models adapted to the circumstances of emerging economies.
The diversity of initiatives needed to tackle all diseases (both communicable and non-communicable) requires the commitment of all healthcare actors. The pharmaceutical industry cannot resolve the access issue alone and nor can any other actor. New models of collaboration are emerging. Product Development Partnerships (PDPs, also known as public-private partnerships) joining the pharmaceutical industry with other healthcare stakeholders with complementary expertise have become one of the established approaches to tackle diseases in the developing world.
In addition, pharmaceutical companies have created partnerships in many low- and middle-income countries that focus on R&D discovery, funding for awareness and prevention campaigns, investing in capacity building and training of healthcare workers, as well as donations. These partnerships often involve Ministries of Health and local health professionals, global and local NGOs, and institutes of research focussing on a wide range of treatments, from malaria to diabetes.
Through donation programmes, and flexible pricing strategies among other tools, companies can improve access to the latest medicines.
The engagement of governments is central to the viability of these initiatives. A principle for competitiveness is to develop sustainable solutions which improve access to medicines while also supporting investment in R&D on new medicines.
EFPIA believes that trade, health and development are policy areas that can reinforce one another, and that collaboration between industry, governments and other stakeholders can advance shared objectives. Following this belief, EFPIA members have formed the Global Health Initiative (GHI). The GHI working group aims to encourage collaboration among European political actors to create unique solutions for shared problems in global health. To this end, it was decided that public debates bringing together all relevant stakeholders in the European Parliament would be a productive means of delivering tangible conclusions. .